Here Comes the Sun

The following guest column by Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, President|CEO of Gulf Coast, appeared in the July 21 edition of SRQ Daily:

I love hearing success stories—especially those that involve our Gulf Coast region. So today, I thought I would illuminate your morning with a story that shines a light on solar energy and the power of neighborhoods.

A couple of years ago, the League of Women Voters of Florida brought a troubling picture to our attention. Florida—the Sunshine State, mind you—lagged at number 17 in the U.S. for solar-energy installations. Experts said we should be in the top three. By comparison, New Jersey, with less than half of our population, had about five(!) times as many solar rooftop systems. Florida did rank high in another measure, though: We were sixth among states for polluting emissions.

The League wanted to help more homeowners across Florida go solar by propagating the promising model of “solar co-ops.” These neighborhood-based cooperatives enable communities to affordably go solar by leveraging volume purchasing and competitive bidding. They also build passionate solar advocates in the process.

To do this, the League partnered with a national group—Solar United Neighbors—that successfully coordinated co-op networks in several other states. While Florida already had a couple of fledgling co-ops supported by the group, the new partners shared a bold vision to go bigger: create a statewide nonprofit program that could scale the co-op model, starting on the Gulf Coast.

To read the rest of Mark's column in SRQ Daily, go here...


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